Procurement guidance: Successful Bike Share Scheme Development

The increasing number of operators in the sector and the option to access private finance for capital costs has opened up new routes to developing bike share schemes.


Bikeplus and the Bikeplus Operators Group, in an open letter to cities, recommend taking the route of a transparent competitive process. Members of the group have stated that they will not operator in an areas without an invitation. The following is a summary of the current options:

  1. Requests for Proposals for a single operator: operators are invited to outline what they could offer towards a set of requirements to a defined open timetable. The agreement is set out with the use of a Memorandum of Understanding – contact Bikeplus for guidance and examples.
  1. Request for Proposals for dual operators: as above with two preferred operators. Bikeplus suggest that careful consideration is given to the inclusion of more than two operators in cities of less than 150,000 population or three operators in cities greater than 150,000 population unless there is a strong differentiation in service.
  1. Permit System for multiple operators: Where a city wishes to invite more than two operators a permit system is recommended. Permits or licenses can be set up with or without the use of a Byelaw. One UK authority is taking a lead in creating this as an enforcement tool under S235 of Local Government Act 1972. Once created this will be available for other authorities to use. License fees should be set at a level which supports sustainable operations and revenue from licensing should be ring-fenced for reinvestment in cycling initiatives such as supporting social inclusion and safer cycling initiatives.  Contact Bikeplus for latest updates on template permits systems and byelaws.
  1. Funded tender process: Where funding is being offering for example for the development of ebikes or supply of extensive additional cycle parking an OJEU tender process will be required. See Bikeplus Procurement Guidance.
  1. Zero value tender process: Some authorities have also used a tender process even where there is no capital funding being provided due to the perceived value to the right to operator on the public space.

It is recommended that all processes should include reference to the need for Bikeplus Accreditation in order to streamline the application and assessment process whilst promoting common standards in the sector.

Bikeplus has created a Guide to Successful Bike Share Scheme Development. It was written prior to the changes in 2017 however much of the content about developing successful scheme still applies. It takes all the best experience from the UK and overseas covering all aspects of procurement and scheme implementation. Local authorities can find information on management models, funding sources, design specification and mobilisation.

The guidance covers:

An outline of new geo-fenced and free-floating models can be found on the models of bike share page.

A list of local authorities currently developing bike share schemes. 

Bikeplus runs a monthly local authority forum which meets by telephone conferencing to discuss latest developments and issues. If you are involved in setting up or running a bike share scheme, please contact to join the group.

Download here

Successful Bike Share Scheme Development



About bike share


Bike share map


Shared Electric Bike Programme


UK Public Bike Share Stats

Locations: 26 locations

Total number of bikes: 22,412

Users: 626,136 users (unique members & casual users)

Average trips per day in UK: 47,710 per day

Availabel data from quarter ending December 2017

Operators & suppliers


Bike & Go

Brompton Bike Hire

Hourbike (Bikeplus Accredited)

Intelligent Transport Services (Bikeplus Accredited)

Nextbike (Bikeplus Accredited)

Ride-on (Provisional Bikeplus Accreditation)

Serco (Bikeplus Accredited)


Social Bicycles




Ofo (Bikeplus Accredited)

Urbo (Bikeplus Accredited)

Useful links